Dennis Ruh • European Film Market Director

– The director of the EFM gives us an overview of the program of the market, which will be held from February 10 to 17, and tells us more about the organization of this particular edition

This article is available in English.

A few days before the start of its second edition at the head of the European Film Market (EFM), which will also take place exclusively in the digital environment, Denis Ruh offers an overview of the market which will take place from February 10 to 17 and shares its experience of organizing this edition.

Cineeuropa: For the second year functioningEFM going digital. how hard it was this transform a market that was Also Ready to unroll in a physical environment indigital only?
Denis Ruh: The hardest part was making the actual decision to move from a physical to a digital market again. After a successful online version in 2021, and with feedback from our exhibitors and attendees, we were able to use this experience to offer EFM visitors the best possible digital marketplace. Recreating networking and matchmaking opportunities in the virtual space is probably one of the toughest challenges. We all know cinema is all about people, and meeting someone at a market stall is different from connecting to the screen. Nevertheless, we managed to implement different networking formats to connect our EFM participants.

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How will this year be different from the previous edition?
Last year everything was new, as there had never been a virtual market in the history of the EFM. The 2021 edition having been a success, we were able to capitalize on this very positive experience. We learned a lot about what works very well and what could be changed, adapted or added. The structure of the virtual market in general mirrors the structure of the physical EFM: there are virtual booths, meeting and networking spaces, online screenings and a comprehensive conference program. In response to feedback from last year’s participants, we were able to improve and develop certain aspects of the virtual marketplace – for example, the restructuring of rights management for online screenings and improved user-friendliness, also for exhibitors. We have also revamped our conference program, the EFM Industry Sessions, introducing the four program streams, “Producers”, “Distribution”, “Documentary” and “Series”, each supported by large groups of attendees at the EFM, as well as around three central themes: future, diversity and inclusion, and sustainable development.

Could you give us more details on the EFM Industry Sessions?
With the EFM Industry Sessions, we aim to issue a call to action. We believe it is important to not only react to the ongoing transformation, but also to commit to shaping it – each individually and collectively as an industry. Like last year, the EFM Industry Sessions include the EFM Startups initiative, showcasing 12 hand-picked startups, as well as the Berlinale Series Market, exploring the latest trends in high-end, high-quality series, including a curated selection of commercially promising companies. series projects under the Berlinale Series Market Selects label.

Have you also included new sections?
A new offer for our documentary makers are the Rough-Cut Presentations, where a selection of raw documentaries will be shown. We want to provide a platform for documentary filmmakers to showcase, showcase and discuss clips from their films for buyers, festival programmers and sales agents. To further strengthen inclusion, we have expanded our Toolbox program, designed specifically to equip documentary and fiction creators from marginalized and underrepresented groups with market information, business tools and connections. We have also developed our (Online) Market Badge Inclusion Initiative, a program for underrepresented and marginalized film professionals from Europe and around the world. These are just a few of the highlights.

How hard is it Iyou to offer engaging content to an audience that is now more accustomed to a digital environment?
I think because people are already used to working remotely and engaging digitally these days, it’s actually easier to reach people in the virtual space than before. Everyone is used to it, technical obstacles are much easier to overcome and everyone is aware that it has to be done digitally in these times. People are also seeing the benefits, whether it’s for sustainability reasons, because they don’t have to fly, whether it’s for economic reasons, because they don’t need to spend money on travel or hotels, or whether for reasons of inclusion, as people who have difficulty obtaining visas or leaving their home countries also have the opportunity to participate. Everyone needs their business to thrive and will adapt to the situation accordingly. That said, of course, we always work hard to deliver engaging content, whether the market is digital or not. EFM captures current developments and trends and offers a unique platform for innovation and change.

Last year you were quite optimistic on the return of physical editions; do you still have the same belief in the post-pandemic era?
I do think that the future format will be hybrid. I think the virtual format has shown that there are many benefits, as mentioned above, but meeting in person is something people need, and it’s something that won’t be completely undone. For me, the future is both physical and digital, with a focus on physical gatherings.

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